Consequences vs. fun
I recently dropped out of a Demon: the Fallen campaign, because I disliked the way the GM handled the game. I had only played in the campaign twice, but as the story ended, I opted to drop out. Why? Because the way the GM handled the game goes against everything I find enjoyable in role playing games.
I respect that their fun differs from mine. I spoke to him about it, and I didn’t want to “change their fun”, so I politely withdrew from the game.
“What went wrong?” you might ask. There was a number of things that “went wrong”, as in “I did not find it enjoyable”. The biggest baddie was his focus on consequence.
I believe all experienced gamers has met this kind of GM, the GM that consistently punish players because of their choices. They often think that their punishment is reasonable, and it would “break the immersion” if it wasn’t doled out.
I’m particularly referring to an episode that ended with a, to me, pointless character death. One player saved an NPC werewolf, tied up in silver chains, from some ghouls with assault rifles. He untied the werewolf, and asked why they had captured him, and why they had tortured him so. During the conversation, the player told the werewolf he was demon. The result? The werewolf immediately attacked the player’s character, killing him in two or three blows.
My first thought was that I would never play under this GM again. I spend too much time working on my characters for them to be killed for such a petty reason. What did this death achieve? Nothing at all. It wasn’t meaningful, it wasn’t fun and it certainly wasn’t logical. The player seemed a bit sad too, but no one said anything.
Even though I sat there, three hours straight, without being involved in the game, because the GM failed to involve my character meaningfully in his carefully crafted plot with a predetermined outcome, this made me cringe the most. Without any obvious reason, without any explanation, without any need, with no consent from the player, with no regard for what would make the game more fun for everyone; the GM just killed the character. A character that had been in the game for, I think, five sessions.
A lot of people would consider this extremely bad GM’ing. I do too, so this is why I left. Not because I sat there for three hours straight, merely watching other players have fun. Not because that I felt that the GM railroaded the shit out of the story. But because that he obviously put his need for “realistic” consequences over what would make the game more enjoyable.
Is punishing players bad? Hell yes! The GM is not there to punish players, he is there to make sure that everyone has fun. If his way of having fun is to ruin everything a player has worked on, then good riddance.
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